Fong- Self Guided West Highland Way

Bob Fong & Phil Daum

Saturday 4th May – Wednesday 15th May 2024

Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights

Overview

The West Highland Way is a classic long distance trek, covering over 95 miles (150km) from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William in the Highlands. The route travels along the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond, across the atmospheric Rannoch Moor, past dramatic Glencoe and over the high pass of the Devil’s Staircase before finishing in Fort William, at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. The West Highland Way is one of the classic treks of the world and is undertaken by many people of all ages from across the world, making it a fun and social trek.

Highlights

  • Take on the challenge of Scotland’s most famous long distance trail - the West Highland Way
  • Experience changing scenery as you hike from the lowlands of Scotland into the heart of the West Highlands
  • Hike through the beautiful landscapes of Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe

Day by Day

Day 1 - Saturday 4th May - Arrive In Milngavie

Arrive in Glasgow today, Scotland’s biggest city and a thriving metropolis full of art, culture, music and history. Enjoy spending some time exploring, perhaps visiting Kelvingrove Art Museum and meandering through the West End, stopping for a coffee in the Botanical Gardens, and appreciating the beautiful architecture of the University. Once you have explored the city take the train from Glasgow to Milngavie (pronounced mil-gai) where you will spend the next three nights thinking about the adventures ahead.

Overnight: Milngavie | West Highland Gate Premier Inn

Day 1 - Directions Read More +

The West Highland Gate is situated on the main road through Milngavie (near the Police Station). From Milngavie railway station, exit onto Woodburn Way and turn left. Follow this road for 800 yards/725 metres and the Premier Inn be on your left. For the start of the Way cross over Main Street and retrace your steps for 355 yards/325 metres then bear left into Milngavie’s shopping precinct. Proceed through the precinct to the central clock tower. Bear right and you will arrive at the start of the West Highland Way in around 100 yards/90 metres.

Day 1 - Glasgow Read More +

Discover Glasgow, Scotland’s dynamic cultural capital, blending Victorian elegance with modern vitality. Explore historic landmarks like Glasgow Cathedral and the vibrant West End’s boutiques and cafes. Dive into art and music at Kelvingrove Museum and lively venues. Indulge in diverse dining options and experience the city’s buzzing nightlife. From its rich history to contemporary charm, Glasgow promises an unforgettable adventure.

Day 2 - Sunday 5th May - Freetime in Milngavie

Overnight: Milngavie | West Highland Gate Premier Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Monday 6th May - Free time in Milngavie

Enjoy your last day of free time in and around Milngavie before getting a restful nights sleep ahead of tomorrows’ adventure.

Overnight: Milngavie | West Highland Gate Premier Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Tuesday 7th May - Milngavie to Drymen

This morning after a hearty breakfast you will set out North from Milngavie towards Drymen. Pass Craigallian and Carbeth Lochs, skirting the western flanks of the Campsie Fells (where many a Glaswegian mountaineer enjoyed their first outing) before reaching tonight’s hotel in the village of Drymen.

Overnight: Drymen | Braeside Guest House
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 19 km / 12 miles | 210 m / 689 ft elevation gain

Day 4 - Directions Read More +

On the latter stage of the route from Milngavie to Drymen you will be walking along a country road. Shortly after leaving this road you will arrive at the A811 road (you will have walked through a field and crossed a stile). At this point make your way into Drymen village (signposted). You will be on Stirling Road as you enter the village and reach the village square. At the village square turn right onto Old Gartmore Road and Braeside is the second house on your right.

Day 4 - Drymen Read More +

Drymen is a small village in the west of Scotland forming the gateway to East Loch Lomond. In the 1700s Drymen found itself on the route of the military road from Stirling to Dumbarton. The Clachan Inn, on a corner of The Square, dates back to this period and carries signs proclaiming that it was first licensed in 1734. The area – steeped in history – is Clan Buchanan country. Rob Roy McGregor was a ‘local’ and this is the area in which he carried out his famous (or infamous) exploits against the Duke of Montrose.

Day 5 - Wednesday 8th May - Drymen to Rowardennan

The trail leaves the pretty village of Drymen this morning and passes through Garadhban Forest. From the quiet woodland, you can climb Conic Hill (361m in height with great views over Loch Lomond) or choose a lower-level, alternative path that skirts below the sharp little peak. Reaching the eastern banks of Loch Lomond at Balmaha, follow the shoreline through the trees until you reach the tranquil setting of Rowardennan, a picturesque village at the foot of Ben Lomond.

Overnight: Loch Lomond | The Rowardennan Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 23 km / 14 miles | 430 m / 1,411 ft elevation gain

Day 5 - Rowardennan & Loch Lomond Read More +

The largest freshwater lake in Britain, Loch Lomond is over 23 miles long and 5 miles wide at its widest point. Loch Lomond’s beauty has drawn visitors from all over the world. Famous writers such as Boswell, Johnson, Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth and John Keats have all visited its shores – and Queen Victoria sailed on a steamer from Inversnaid in 1869. Steamers used to provide the main form of transport, linking the loch side with Balloch.

The small village of Rowardennan on the east shore of Loch Lomond nestles at the foot of Ben Lomond This is Rob Roy country. One of Rob Roy’s sons brought a kidnapped heiress to the Rowardennan Inn and forced her to go through a ceremony of marriage; a plot for which he was hanged in Edinburgh.

The Inn served as a wayside halt for the drovers who brought their highland cattle across the loch by ferry on their way to the markets of Stirling and Falkirk. Rising from the east shore of Loch Lomond, to a height of 974 m (3,193 ft), is Ben Lomond, the most southerly ‘Munro’ in Scotland. The road along the eastern shore of Loch Lomond stops at Rowardennan and the only way to continue along the shore is on foot.

Day 6 - Thursday 9th May - Rowardennan to Inverarnan

Today is considered by many to be one of the most challenging. The trail tumbles its way along the shores of Loch Lomond and is reasonably rough underfoot. However, it’s well worth it, as the terrain is wild and remote and provides ample opportunities to spot red deer and golden eagles. The views are also spectacular – sweeping moorland, great corries and shattered mountain peaks. The path improves as you approach the tiny settlement of Inverarnan and your cosy bed for the night.

Overnight: By Ardlui | Beinglas Farm
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 23 km / 14 miles | 475 m / 1,558 ft elevation gain

Day 6 - Inverarnan Read More +

The West Highland Way continues northwards from Rowardennan along the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond, sometimes close to the water’s edge and sometimes well up the slopes. The village of Inverarnan is situated at the south end of Glen Falloch and just beyond the northern point of Loch Lomond. It sits on the banks of the River Falloch, which flows into Loch Lomond.

The Most famous landmark at this stage is the ‘Drovers Inn’ one of the best known pubs in Scotland. The Drovers Inn was originally used by the Highland drovers who used to drive their cattle down the side of Loch Lomond to the markets. Three hundred years ago The Drovers opened for business, Rob Roy MacGregor, Robert Burns, General Wade, Johnson and Boswell, Robert Louis Stevenson all passed by and quite probably entered the premises for refreshment or lodging. Beinglas takes its name from Ben Glas, Gaelic for Grey Mountain, down which the dramatic ‘Grey Mares Tail’ waterfall thunders.

Day 7 - Friday 10th May - Inverarnan to Tyndrum

This morning make your way along Glen Falloch before turning northwest to Strath Fillan. The landscape feels expansive and wild here, where the wind meanders through long grasses and meadow pipits skim across the tops of purple heather. As you approach the small village of Tyndrum, enjoy the wonderful views of Ben Lui to the west and, closer to home, spot the hardy plants that push up from rocky soil. Arrive in the village and relax at your accommodation for the night.

Overnight: Tyndrum | Tigh na Fraoch
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 19 km / 12 miles | 490 m / 1,608 ft elevation gain

Day 7 - Tyndrum Read More +

Tyndrum, Taigh an Droma in Gaelic, translated as ‘the house on the ridge’ lies in Strathfillan at the southern edge of Rannoch Moor. Overshadowed by Ben Lui, one of the Munros (Scottish mountains over 914.4 metres or 3000 feet), Tyndrum has historic connections with Robert the Bruce and Rob Roy MacGregor. In 1306 Bruce suffered one of his rare defeats at nearby Dal Righ, the King’s Field. Tradition tells of his retreating soldiers throwing their heavy weapons into Lochan nan Arm. Defeat came at the hands of the MacDougall’s, during the battle, Alastair MacDougall ripped a brooch from Bruce as he made off and the ‘Brooch of Lorne’ is still in the possession of the MacDougall family. Tyndrum is a gold, silver & lead mining centre. Up on the hillside beyond Clifton the tailings of a former lead mine can be seen on Sron nan Colan hill. The actual gold mine is a couple of miles to the south and west of Tyndrum at Cononish, situated above Cononish Farm.

Day 8 - Saturday 11th May - Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy

This fantastic day begins with a climb out of Tyndrum, with the trail running next to the West Highland Railway line. At the top of the pass, the views are fantastic as you traverse the sweeping flanks of Beinn Odhar, Beinn a’ Chaisteil and Beinn Dorain. Approach the Bridge of Orchy along the old military road until you see the railway station. Turn left and arrive in the village, which dates back to 1751.

Overnight: Bridge of Orchy | Bridge of Orchy Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 10 km / 6 miles | 134 m / 440 ft elevation gain

Day 8 - Bridge of Orchy Read More +

The story of Bridge of Orchy is a story of travel and of travellers. In the years after the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite uprisings the government put a huge amount of effort into building roads and bridges over the length and breadth of the Highlands. Until then drove routes had existed to move cattle to the lowland markets. However, most travel took place by sea and the majority of significant settlements hugged coasts or major rivers. A bout of road building during the eighteenth century was intended to provide a means of moving troops quickly around the interior to suppress the rebellion. These were the military roads built by General Wade and later by Major Caulfield.

Day 9 - Sunday 12th May - Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse and Glencoe

Leaving Bridge of Orchy behind this morning, head into the brooding melancholy of Glencoe. A steady climb provides stunning views of Loch Tulla and across Rannoch Moor, which rolls out ahead of you towards the horizon. Ribbon your way across the lonely landscape, looking out for red deer and birds of prey. Arrive in Glencoe and check into your warm and breathtakingly-located hotel.

Overnight: Glencoe | Kingshouse Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 20 km / 12 miles | 470 m / 1,542 ft elevation gain

Day 9 - Kingshouse Read More +

Originally built in the 17th century, Kingshouse Hotel is believed to be one of Scotland’s oldest licensed inns. The building was used after the Battle of Culloden (1746) as a barracks for troops of George III, hence the name Kings House. It was their task to keep the Highlanders under subjection and to capture their elusive champion, Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Hotel’s history is colourful and varied. Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in 1803 ‘Never did I see such a miserable, such wretched place – long rooms with ranges of beds, no other furniture except benches, or perhaps one or two crazy chairs, the floors far dirtier than an ordinary house could be if it were never washed.’ By the 21st Century, the old building has been altered considerably and the owners together with their staff assure you of a warm welcome. The mountain situated right across from the hotel is the Buachaille Etive Mòr at the head of Glen Etive. Nearby is Glencoe (Gleann Comhann in Gaelic) one of the most spectacular places in Scotland. With a wild and haunting beauty, Glencoe is often said to mean ‘Glen of Weeping’, perhaps with some reference to the infamous Massacre of Glencoe which took place there in 1692. However, ‘Gleann Comhann’ does not translate as ‘Glen of Weeping’ rather the Glen is named after the River Coe which runs through it and bore this name long prior to the 1692 incident.

Day 10 - Monday 13th May - Glencoe to Kinlochleven

Today is especially rewarding and, although shorter than those previous, contains the biggest amount of ascent. Zig-zag up a trail known as the ‘Devil’s Staircase’ to the top of the pass at 547m. The views from here are incredible and arresting; the mountain summits often misted in snow even in the height of summer. Descend on a good trail to the small village of Kinlochleven, settling into your accommodation for the night.

Overnight: Kinlochleven | Little Yoke
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 14 km / 9 miles | 430 m / 1,411 ft elevation gain

Day 10 - Directions Read More +

On approaching Kinlochleven you will arrive at Wades Road. Continue all of the way along Wades Road until you reach the entrance to the Grey Mare’s Waterfall on the right-hand side and immediately afterwards you will see a turning to the left for Kearan Road. Turn left onto Kearan Road, stay on the pavement on the right-hand side and continue to the end of the road when you will reach a T-junction. Turn right onto the B863 and walk for a very short distance until you reach a turning for Lochaber Crescent on the right. Turn right into Lochaber Crescent and you will soon see Little Yoke clearly signposted on the right-hand side of the Crescent.

Day 10 - Kinlochleven Read More +

Kinlochleven, at the head of Loch Leven, 20 miles south of Fort William and 90 miles north of Glasgow, is a unique village, rich in natural resources and with a strong industrial heritage. The village developed in the 1900’s when the North British Aluminium Company built a hydro scheme and smelter in the area. As the smelter developed, so the population grew. At its peak the smelter employed over 800 people. The smelter closed in April 2000 but the sense of community continues. Now the growing popularity of the West Highland Way brings a steady stream of visitors to the village. Loch Leven is one of the most attractive lochs in Scotland and the village is surrounded by imposing mountains. To the north lie the Mamores, while to the south are the mountains guarding the north side of Glencoe.

Day 11 - Tuesday 14th May - Kinlochleven to Fort William

The final day of your adventure is suitably enchanting and deservedly satisfying. Begin by walking through the woods above Kinlochleven before strolling along a great glen which provides captivating views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding mountains. Descend steadily towards Fort William, where a bronze sculpture of a walker marks the celebratory end of your adventure.

Overnight: Fort William | Fassfern Guest House
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 24 km / 15 miles | 475 m / 1,558 ft elevation gain

Day 11 - Directions Read More +

On arrival to Fort William train station, you then head through the town centre. Head under the underpass and walk through the pedestrian precinct. To reach Fassfern continue to the end of the High Street and you will be at a roundabout. Take the second exit off the roundabout and continue along Achintore Road for a short distance until you reach Fassfern clearly signposted on the left hand side of the road.

Day 11 - Fort William Read More +

Fort William sits on Loch Linnhe with the majestic Ben Nevis, at 1344m Britain’s highest mountain, as its backdrop. The town takes its name from the fort that William Prince of Orange built in 1690. Fort William was successfully held by government troops during the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745. However, the surrounding area saw great turmoil. Today, such a bloody past is difficult to imagine and the town is the main centre for visitors to the Western Highlands.

Day 12 - Wednesday 15th May - Fort William and Depart

After a leisurely breakfast this morning, enjoy pulling on some comfy shoes and spending some time exploring Fort William. Grab a coffee and a well-deserved pastry as you amble around, popping into a bookshop, outdoor shop or bakery before beginning your journey home. Catch the train back to Glasgow, enjoying watching the scenic countryside rumble past outside your window, satisfied in the knowledge that you just walked 96 miles of it on foot.

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • Accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis in Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts, Small Hotels and Inns on the route
  • Luggage transfer for 1 bag per person for the duration of the trip, meaning you will only have to carry a day rucksack. Strict weight limit of 20kg per bag.
  • Route notes which include a map and full directions to your accommodation.
  • The services of the Wilderness Scotland Team prior to & during your trip.
Notes Read More

Your Baggage Transfer Service – Travel-lite

Whilst on the West Highland Way your luggage will be transferred each day between accommodation providers by Travel-lite. Luggage labels will be provided by Travel-lite who will deliver them to your Milngavie accommodation the day beforehand and then uplift your bags from your Milngavie accommodation on the morning of the start of your walk (ie you do not need to take them to the Travel-lite van). Please note that the Premier Inn has limited storage for bags so Travel-lite will uplift your bags directly at 0800 hrs and leave an explanatory note with your labels. Both the West Highland Gate Premier Inn and Travel-lite will keep you right.

On all other days your bags should be available for pick up from your accommodation by 0900 hrs every morning. There is no need to contact Travel-lite as everything has been arranged for you. However, if you do need to contact them, they can be reached on 0141 956 7890, [email protected], www.travel-lite-uk.com.
Please note that strictly one bag per person is included in the trip price and bags should weigh no more than 20 kgs per bag.

If you decide to bring an extra bag(s) then Travel-lite will charge you an additional £70.00 per bag.
If your bag(s) exceed the weight limit then you will be requested to split your bag(s) and an additional £70.00 per bag will be requested by Travel-lite.

Please also note that, as per Travel-lite’s Terms & Conditions, no valuable or breakable items are to be left intransportable bags. In particular – laptops, iPads, tablets or glass bottles. Also, no camping gas in transported bagsplease. Baggage is only insured whilst in transit on the Travel-lite vehicles and, therefore, it is recommended that you have adequate travel insurance.

Travel-lite can also provide a service whereby they can store excess luggage and deliver it to your final accommodation. This costs £45.00 per bag.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Bed & Breakfast

Breakfast is included at all stages of your trip.

Packed Lunches

These are not included but can be ordered from most establishments, provided that you order upon arrival. Alternatively, on most days there are cafes, shops or restaurants where you can buy lunch on route. Your accommodation host will be able to advise you on this.

Evening Meals

These are not included but are available locally at all stages. It is essential, that, during the current climate, evening meals are booked as far in advance as possible.

Dietary/Medical Requirements

Please advise the accommodation owners on arrival if you are vegetarian, vegan or have any other special dietary requirements.

Accommodation Bookings

Since your accommodation has been booked on your behalf by Wilderness Scotland, it may be necessary to quote our name as a reference on arrival at your accommodation.

Important – Late Arrivals

Accommodation providers ask walkers to telephone them to advise if they intend to arrive any later than 1800 hrs. Walkers who do not arrive at their intended overnight stop will cause grave concern in respect of safety, so co‐operation in this matter is greatly appreciated. Contact phone numbers for all of your accommodations are provided in this pack.

Cancellation

If you decide that you cannot continue your walk, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can contact the establishments concerned.

Credit Cards

The majority of establishments will accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted but not Diners orAmerican Express).

Insurance

Our aim is for you to have the best experience possible whilst in Scotland. We are aware that unforeseen circumstances can be quite challenging so our advice to all of our guests is to take out relevant insurance to help make things less of a challenge if the unforeseen happens. If travelling from a European country outside the UK your insurance policy should include medical cover, curtailment, sickness & injury cancellation prior to the trip and personal accident cover. We also strongly recommend you have cover for other travel and personal effects. If travelling from within the UK, we recommend you are insured for personal sickness & injury cancellation prior to the trip and any travel insurance you feel appropriate to your needs.

If travelling from further afield, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc it is best to research insurance locally to cover all your travel and medical needs.

 

WALKING ROUTE NOTES

All routes are undertaken entirely at your own risk. Ensure you are properly equipped with sufficient food, suitable footwear and wind and waterproof outdoor clothing. Take the relevant Map with you and familiarise yourself with the use of a compass and bring this with you at all times. Please leave brief details of your intended route and anticipated return time with your accommodation hosts. Please confirm with them that you have returned safely at the end of your day.

All route timings are calculated on the time we would expect a reasonably fit person to complete the route with minimal stops. Please allow longer if you intend to relax and enjoy the views to the full, or if you feel your fitness levels are lower.

These route notes are intended as helpful guidance only. You should be experienced in reading maps and using a compass prior to undertaking any walks in upland areas or remote coastal locations. You must use your judgment in order to decide whether the suggested daily route is within your capabilities, giving careful consideration to the wind and weather conditions on the day. You are solely responsible for your own safety and well‐being in wilderness areas and you must undertake all walks at your own risk.

While we will do everything we possibly can to assist you in the unfortunate event of any accident or mishap, Wilderness Scotland Ltd will accept no responsibility for any accident or injury sustained during the course of your self‐guided walking holiday.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you require any assistance or support prior to or during your trip then please contact our office on the details below:

Wilderness Scotland

Dalfaber Drive

Aviemore

PH22 1ST

E‐Mail: [email protected]

Tel: +44(0)1479 420020.

The Wilderness Scotland out-of-office hours number is +44 (0)7766 794640.

Please only call this number for things that cannot wait until the office is open again.

Important Additional Information Read More
Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.

Get in Touch


Accommodation

West Highland Gate Premier Inn

103 Main Street | Milngavie |
G62 6JQ | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)333 777 7286
Web: premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/scotland/strathclyde/glasgow

Braeside Guest House

5 Main Street | Drymen | Glasgow |
G63 0BP | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1360 660989
Web: braeside-drymen.co.uk

The Rowardennan Hotel

Drymen Loch Lomond Trossachs | Loch Lomond |
G63 0AR | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1360 870 273
Web: rowardennanhotel.co.uk

Beinglas Farm

Arrochar | By Ardlui |
G83 7DX | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)7957626577
Web: beinglascampsite.co.uk

Tigh na Fraoch

6 Lower Station Rd | Tyndrum | Crianlarich |
FK20 8RY | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1838400354
Web: tigh-na-fraoch.com

Bridge of Orchy Hotel

Bridge of Orchy | Argyll |
PA36 4AD | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1838 400 208
Web: bridgeoforchy.co.uk

Kingshouse Hotel

Glencoe | Ballachulish |
PH49 4HY | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1855 851 260
Web: kingshousehotel.co.uk

Little Yoke

3 Lochaber Crescent | Kinlochleven |
PH50 4QS | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0) 7815042505
Web: airbnb.co.uk/rooms

Fassfern Guest House

Achintore Road | Fort William |
PH33 6RQ | Phone: +44 (0)1397 704298
Web: fassfernguesthouse.com